Somewhere around right about now, three years ago, the worldwide U.S. person horror show began its gruesome run. This fright night still plays strong in pretty well any country outside the United States that you may happen to reside in.
Here are my nominations for the top three quotations so far, in chronological order. Notice that two of the three characters have already departed the scene.
FATCA has far-reaching extraterritorial implications. It would turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians. … Canada is not a tax haven. People do not flock to Canada to avoid paying taxes.
— Jim Flaherty (then Canadian Minister of Finance) 16 Sept 2011
My message on this one is to sit tight. We are not unreasonable. We are not unsympathetic. We are not irresponsible.
— David Jacobson (then US Ambassador to Canada) 18 Oct 2011
Political signals from the United States show that expatriation and tax policies are likely to get harsher. … The cost of expatriation now is less than the expected future cost of expatriation. Better to take the medicine now rather than later. … Expect the same exit tax rules, but more of them, and worse. Expect more expatriations. … Get out while the getting is semi-good. Don’t wait for more time. More time means more laws.
— Phil Hodgen (still a tax lawyer) 5 June 2012
Feel free to propose other sourced contenders in comments to this posting.
“Just renounce!” say the Conservatives in this Canadian Parliament proceedings video:
In no particular order—
At the end of the day they can’t handcuff people to the US. If people choose to vote with their feet, they will. Unless they’re going to physically wall people inside the US, no country in history has succeeded stopping people leaving. The rich are leaving, the middle class may find it more difficult, the IRS will only be left with the poor who pay little or no taxes at best.
All the US is achieving is losing rich influential people, and well educated people. All the US will be left to harass is the poor.
“Swiss Banks Pull Out of U.S. Tax Program”
This does not concern FATCA directly, however this could be the start of resistance to U.S. extra-territorial taxing power?
“The newspaper said the banks were convinced they had not systematically broken U.S. law and lawyers of the U.S. Department of Justice had actually been surprised to see them take part in the program and did not object to the banks leaving the program.”
Swiss banks are opting out of what’s been called around here ‘the OVD program for banks’, same as people have opted out of the OVD programs for individuals. For people, just substitute “systematically” with “non-willfully” in that quote.
Just hearing this again makes my blood boil. And these are the people who have decided the future of all those deemed “US Persons” in Canada. The ignorance is astounding and appalling.
You can be sure I tweeted all the CONs involved in the FINA meetings regarding the renunciation fee rise. With one in particular asking, “Would you still advise ….to renounce So tempted to shout that STILL but refrained 😉
“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it… “
“The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” – Will Rogers
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour.” – Viktor E. Frankl
“Going after tax dodgers is understandable. But FATCA, which will take effect on July 1st, is overkill. . . . The financial superpower looks ever more a regulatory bully, setting rules it ignores itself.” — the Economist in “Fatca’s Flaws”
“Homeland Americans are under the mistaken impression that FATCA only applies to rich Americans in the U.S. who shuttle their money (and perhaps their precious selves) offshore to evade taxes. They genuinely think that it does not apply to the checking, savings and retirement accounts of their dear friend/son/daughter/cousin/old classmate who was lucky enough to have landed a job or find the love of his or life in Shanghai/Bangalore/Bordeaux/Belize/Sao Paulo.
I will put this as succinctly and as clearly as possible:
The FATCA rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.
The law is so broad, and casts such a wide net, that it impacts a few Americans living in the homeland with foreign accounts, and ALL Americans living abroad with local accounts including people who don’t even know they are Americans.” – Victoria Ferauge FrenchNewsOnline
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Thanks for tweeting all of the Conservatives we heard and saw in action at the FINA meetings. I would be interested in any responses (but likely as any response from my own MP, Michelle Rempel — NOTHING).
I’ve definitely always been interested in returning to Canada but the door has never been open professionally and that is why it has never happened. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years networking with people in my field to find a path back to Canada–unfortunately most of the people I’ve made contact with are people who either want to move to the US or at least seem to find US life more exciting professionally–even as they acknowledge the shortcomings of the US in other ways. As such they find it difficult to see why anyone would return to Canada except perhaps to retire–but not for one’s prime working years.
I am concerned about the difficulties of returning to Canada as a US citizen but not over and above the difficulties of doing so as a green card holder–which seem similar. And from a stateside perspective being a citizen is definitely better than being a green card holder. For one thing, with the increasing police state mentality in the USA, you never know when you might find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, get a police officer angry, and get charged with a minor offense–which gets escalated to something major if you aren’t a citizen. US citizenship seems significantly safer to me as long as I’m stateside, and a roughly equal hassle to having a green card if I ever return to Canada.
A quote that’s disturbingly relevant is from: “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” by Erik Larson (2011).
Larson recounts the experiences of US Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, in Berlin 1933 to 1937. In Chapter 26, Larson writes about distress and suicide among German Jews newly stripped of citizenship and economic rights by the Nuremberg Laws, and described the suicide of German Jewish journalist Were von Huhn in 1933 after she discovered her Jewish ancestry, which would end her career:
“ ‘Finally (von Huhn said) , I found out that my grandparents were Jewish…’ At that news her life had been abruptly, irrevocably altered. In January she would join a wholly new social stratum consisting of thousands of people stunned to learn they had Jewish relatives somewhere in their past. Automatically, no matter how thoroughly they had identified themselves as Germans, they became reclassified as non-Aryan and found themselves consigned to new and meager lives on the margins of the Aryans-only world being constructed by Hitler’s government.”
It is easy – and chilling – to paraphrase Larson’s quote so as to reflect the position of Canadians whose citizenship rights are degraded by the FATCA IGA:
“On July 1, 2014, a new social stratum – consisting of untold thousands of Canadians now defined as “US tax residents abiding in Canada” – was created. Their lives had been abruptly, irrevocably altered. No matter how thoroughly they had identified themselves as Canadians in the past, they were now reclassified as “US persons” and consigned to new and reduced lives as 2nd class citizens in their own country.”
“In my opinion, the procedures mandated by the Model 1 IGA are discriminatory in a way that would not withstand Charter scrutiny.” (Peter Hogg, December 12, 2012)
“I would like to believe that the Charter affords the same protections to honest citizens that it does to our most heinous criminals.” (Canadian Cop, February 7, 2014)
“A legal proceeding has been commenced against you by the plaintiff.” (Joseph Arvay, August 11, 2014)
Your description of your situation matches what I feared could happen to my son should he decide to keep his USC and seek work in the US. Chemistry jobs are far and few between right now in Canada. To have one’s only child in the situation you are in, is not something I wanted, given I gave up my (birth) family by moving here.
I am sorry to hear that the reason being a citizen rather than a green-card holder is due to the “police state mentality” down there. So completely different than the place I grew up in.
Thanks for explaining this to me.
If we want to source a Berlin Wall quotation, I think the locus classicus would be William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal on 23 April 2012.
Such a resonant title his editors chose back then: “What’s U.S. citizenship worth?”
As an answer, I have a personal fondness for the not directly related old refrigerator comment from Coolhandluke on 11 July 2010. (Link to ultimate source seems to have gone dark.)
@usxcanada paraphrased from the WSJ article:
The Berlin Wall approach: The thrust of U.S. tax law prevents any American from benefiting from a better deal somewhere else.
That could have been said before FATCA and does not deal with the ‘life control’, onerous compliance, and that it is worse than above. The law is out to penalize and taxing to make it worse than if one lives in the U.S.
The Economist had an international taxation article titled “America’s Berlin Wall” in 2008. The situation has been called a Berlin Wall off and on for some time.
I don’t know if I have improved on the quote that I submitted:
Ironic, a country founded on a revolt over confiscatory taxes now has built a “virtual Berlin Wall” of Orwellian taxation and compliance around its citizens and non-citizens alike that would give a smile to King George III himself.
You say something like this and it might get some attention but then what does it mean, and how to drive it home? That is why specific examples need to be communicated. I have had a focus on U.S. taxation of my overseas pension account and denial of access to tax advantageous retirement account in any country for earned income (is that Constitutional I have asked). I have pointed out that how would those IRA and 401K account holders like these annual account gains taxed at their marginal tax rates.
Some Brockers have some quite compelling stories like Calgary411 and Tricia Moon’s $455,000 in estimated penalties.
Perhaps we need a Chinese Democracy Wall where the stories may be posted and the wall may be referenced. ACA wants stories yet will not post them. Do we build such a virtual wall here at IBS?
Or, do we declare the message boards at Isaac Brock a ‘Chinese Democracy Wall?’ The Chinese wanted democracy. What do we want? I like the allusion to ‘Chinese Democracy Wall’ for stories, as an outlet for oppressed people. Yet what to call it. One website focused on ‘Expat Stories.’ That name is no good. Maybe ‘Democracy.’ Part of what is implied with democracy is freedom and liberty.
See the Democracy Wall at The Isaac Brock Society for stories of how the US government limits the freedom and liberty of US citizens tax resident abroad.
@usxcanada I have a feeling you would be more concise and to the point than I.
you’re welcome. Of course, no replies. But I am sure they enjoy knowing that we haven’t forgotten. 😛
“The Government considers that the DTA protects New Zealand citizens by limiting the United States’ taxing rights over US taxpayers that habitually reside in New Zealand”
– Todd McClay, New Zealand Minister of Revenue, in reply to the following question:
Good to see that you seem to have tried to keep your own son in Canada!
“Chemistry jobs are far and few between right now in Canada.”
Well–that’s often the spin that Canadians like to put on why their more capable people never seem to stay in Canada: there are no jobs in Canada, blah, blah, blah.
My personal experience is that that is often only part of the story. The truth is that sometimes a Canadian with good qualifications finds themselves–perhaps through inexperience and/or a poor job market–a bit overqualified for the few available jobs. The key point, IMHO, is that they are often overqualified on both sides of the border. It isn’t like they like to spin it in Canada: it isn’t that the jobs in the USA are so much better than in Canada for some reason.
But–whereas the Canadian employers have an attitude that they won’t even consider someone who is overqualified–the American employers will sometimes consider them. The Canadian employer just sees someone who is overqualified. The American employer sees a chance to hire a very capable person at a bit lower than the market rate. So the Canadian accepts the U.S. job and ends up building a professional and personal network in the USA–making it harder and harder to return to Canada.
At least that has been my personal observation. I think the frequent observation that “oh, there are no jobs in Canada” made of people leaving Canada often oversimplifies what is a more complex dynamic.
“I am sorry to hear that the reason being a citizen rather than a green-card holder is due to the “police state mentality” down there.”
Actually I see this as a damn good reason to become a citizen–probably by far the best reason to become a citizen–not something to be sorry about.
Citizenship is an insurance policy against being deported. Yes, the value of that insurance goes up a bit in a police state mentality–something that I feel is increasing worldwide and not solely in the US. But I would never willingly choose to go without that insurance. I don’t expect to have a run-in with the law that would lead to deportation were I not a citizen. But knowing that I am insured against that increases my peace of mind.
It is like auto insurance. Auto insurance may be more important if I’m driving in a dangerous area to drive and expect to be in an accident. But even if I don’t expect to be in a car crash, I would never willingly drive without auto insurance.
So–no–I don’t see this as something to be ‘sorry’ about at all. Knowing that presence in the USA is a right–as opposed to merely a privilege that can be revoked by any random police officer or customs official having a bad day–seems like a pretty good reason to become a citizen. If I were living in Canada as a non-Canadian citizen, I would become a Canadian citizen for precisely the same reason. This has nothing to do with FATCA and is not unique to the USA–beyond the fact that the USA is where I happen to be living.
I don’t believe I had too much to drink (if anything…I’m too poor to buy anything alcoholic). But I must have gotten some brass ones all of a sudden. Sent it to @FedupUSExpat so he could see what I was doing.
Wildlife Photog @pro_photog1970 2m
@FedupUSExpat @StateDept @Senate_GOPs @SenateDems https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BwfPLNpCUAALJBb.jpg … – Piss up a tree.
Brand new quotation from Phil Hodgen — an instant classic:
Funny how it works — the equations never seem to completely eliminate double taxation. It’s kind of like how the casino always seems to have a slight edge.
From email distribution. Should appear soon at